SA executive elections approach; United 4 TU gives it a second go

Brennan VanderVeen
Politics Writer
Michaela Flonard
Apprentice Editor

SA executive elections are approaching. The elections occur on April 8–9, with a debate occurring on April 6.

Executive elections occur each spring for the next school year. The seats open are president, vice president, treasurer and secretary. This year, each seat is contested, which has occurred for the past two SA executive elections.

Returning this year is the United 4 TU ticket. United 4 TU was created during last year’s executive election when candidates for all four open positions joined together on one ticket. All four United 4 TU candidates were elected by dramatic margins, with Michael Mancini beating out Vice President Brett Baumgartner for president 578–265.

This year Whitney House is running for president under United 4 TU ticket. She could not be reached for comment.

Meanwhile, Baumgartner is making another run for the presidency. He is a senior energy management and finance double major who is also minoring in Spanish and geology. Before his year as vice president, Baumgartner served as a senator for the College of Business during his first two years at TU.

Currently, Baumgartner is the Executive Director of Advancement and Development. This is a new cabinet position created by current SA president Michael Mancini. Baumgartner describes this position as an attempt to increase intellectual opportunities through SA. As part of this position, he has organized the TU Leadership Experience, TU’s Got Talent for Tulsa Time in November and the Tulsa Time Comedy Event this February.

Baumgartner has a number of things he’d like to do to as president, including improving SA communication and making officers more visible, making the financial allocations process better for organizations by looking at funding nonconsumable items and vetoing legislation that places more burdens on organizations.

Conner Wurth is running for vice president. For the past three years, he has served as a Senator, involved in FAC and GOC committees within SA. In both, he was chairman. His experience in a multitude of committees, he believes, will serve him as vice president, since the position is in charge of the committees.

If elected, Wurth plans to “make Senate more accessible.” He hopes to have students understand and have input into what’s happening in Senate. Although he understands most students don’t have time to be a part of SA, he believes most students have the ability to talk to a senator and improve their experience.

Wurth also hopes to create a more unified Senate and Cabinet. Although Senate and Cabinet currently have separate retreats each year, Wurth hopes to have a unified retreat. A unified retreat would foster a stronger relationship between Senate and Cabinet, Wurth believes, which would reduce issues. Last year, several Cabinet members dropped out, as a result of miscommunication. Wurth believes that a stronger relationship between Senate and Cabinet would prevent such drop-outs.

Another of Wurth’s concerns is encouraging more “small resolutions throughout the semester” from SA committees involved in nonfinancial legislation. “There’s a recent boost in nonfinancial legislation,” according to Wurth, which he likes. To encourage this, Wurth plans to attend different SA committee meetings weekly. There, he hopes to “contribute to and encourage new ideas and resolutions.”

For this election, Wurth said he “wants the student body to vote for who is the best candidate for each position.” He does not want “[the election] to be tainted by friendship or political ties.” This, he believes, will make SA “the best it can be.”

Lauren Holmes is also running for vice president, as part of the United 4 TU ticket. She could not be reached.

Grace Doyle and Whitney Cipolla are running for secretary. As secretary, they would take minutes for cabinet and senate, as well as oversee “more of the logistic side of SA, except for finances,” according to Brittany Johnston, executive director of elections and policy. Doyle is a part of the United 4 TU ticket. Neither candidate could be reached for comment.

Patrick Culp is running for treasurer. He is a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering and minoring in economics. He has been involved with SA Cabinet both of his years at TU. Last year, he was the Associate Director of Community Service. This year he’s executive director. Directors of community service are mainly tasked with organizing Service Day. As associate director he lined up the sites for which volunteers would work. As executive director, he also managed the logistics and food. If elected, he hopes to make the allocations process more efficient. Specifically, he wants to get information about what organizations need to do to them more quickly.

Petroleum Engineer Mackenzie Smith is running for treasurer. Although she doesn’t have much experience as a treasurer, she has been the associate director of athletics and the associate and executive director of PR for SA. She is also involved in other activities, such as University Ambassadors, greek life and spirit squad.

Because Smith “knows a lot of the people and organizations on campus,” she is “excited to work with them in financial matters and get them the maximum amount of money for their events on campus.”

If elected, Smith wants a more personal relationship with clubs. She is “excited to be able to work with [clubs] and guide them through the process throughout the year” regarding financial matters. Smith feels that in the past, misunderstanding and miscommunication have occurred between SA and organizations. “I hate to see organizations come in, expecting a certain amount, only to not get that,” she added.

Smith is currently working with Tavis Phan. Their “goals align perfectly,” she said. Since the treasurer works very closely with the president, she believes such a ticket would work well.

Steve Harsha, a biology pre-med with a history minor, is running for treasurer. He has served as the associate and executive director of elections and policy in the Cabinet and as a Senator in GOC. His experience on both sides of SA, Harsha said, is part of his qualifications for treasurer. Because Harsha is “really familiar with financial allocation guideline and has experience with delegations,” he believes he will be a good fit for the position.

If elected, Harsha wants to be an advocate for student organizations. “The allocation guidelines are pretty complicated,” he said. He wants to make the guidelines more easy and streamlined. He hopes to accomplish this by having a relationship by organizations, especially those that are smaller or newer.

While the treasurer works with the president to make the budget, Harsha would like to advocate for allocating more money to organizations. This year, he said about two times more money was allocated towards the executive branch of SA than to the Senate, which gives money to the student organizations. “SA events are important, but they don’t appeal to every student,” according to Harsha, so he believes it’s important for organizations which may appeal to other segments of the student population to get money.

Harsha wants to continue the current treasurer’s agenda of keeping tabs on student organizations and strengthening relationships with organizational representatives.

Matt Neyer is also running for treasurer, as a part of the United 4 TU ticket. He could not be reached for comment.

Post Author: tucollegian

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